Mary Beth Leonard
US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard

 

The United States government has said it contacted rejected immigrants and is prioritising processing their pending visa applications affected by the travel restrictions imposed by former President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos which made the disclosure in a statement said, “This ended the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 that had suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals, based on visa type, from various countries to include Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, this proclamation banned entry for certain immigrant visa categories. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos has already contacted all immigrant visa applicants whose applications were affected and is prioritising the processing of these pending cases.”

It, however, added, “Recent media reports claiming ‘Nigerians denied visas on or after January 20, 2020, can re-apply for free’ are inaccurate.”

According to the US Embassy, the proclamation announcement applies only to certain immigrant visa cases and does not apply to tourist, business, student, or other non-immigrant visas.

“Our consular sections in Abuja and Lagos are gradually restoring routine visa operations in accordance with COVID-19 safety mitigation protocols. The validity of non-immigrant visa payments (known as the MRV fee) has been extended until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee.

“Non-immigrant visa applicants who were previously refused and would like to apply again will need to submit a new visa application (DS-160) and pay a new visa application processing fee,” it added.

Mr. Trump had imposed travel restrictions on 13 countries, including Nigeria under the Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983, later suspended by incumbent President Joe Biden, who signed a presidential proclamation, ‘Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States,’ in January, to reverse the restrictions.